On Saturday night, the United States Women’s National Team defeated the Republic of Ireland by a score of two goals to none, with Alex Morgan scoring her 28th goal of the year 44 seconds into the match and then adding her 19th assist of the year on a Megan Rapinoe goal. The match was a distinct contrast from the two sides’ previous meeting just three days earlier, where the USA scored five goals, including a hat trick by Morgan.
The differences between this match and the earlier meeting can be chalked up to (1) a strong performance by Ireland’s veteran goalkeeper, Emma Byrne; (2) not having to deal with a rain-slicked turf field; (3) the lack of a dynamic Tobin Heath who missed the match due to a personal commitment and hard-working veteran winger Heather O’Reilly who did not play because of an illness; and (4) the unsung hero of the match, defensive midfielder Niamh Fahey, according to Ireland’s head coach, Sue Ronan.
U.S. Soccer Highlights:
In a follow-up article on FAI.ie, Ronan is quoted as saying “”Having watched the video it did look as though their first goal was offside.” However, that does not appear to be the case. Alex Morgan does retreat from an offside position before Shannon Boxx threads a pass up to her, but by the time Boxx last touches the ball, Morgan is onside, behind the second-to-last defender.
Photo #1: The moment when Boxx passes to Morgan before the first goal
U.S. Soccer Reaction Video: